Lesson 16 : the Two Weighty Things
It was during the last year of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.)'s life that he invited Muslims to join him for the pilgrimage to the holy house of Allah (S.W.T.). The majority of pilgrims who joined him were from Mecca and the pilgrimage came to be known as Hajjatul-Wida (The Farewell Hajj) in history.
After completing all the religious rite and duties of Hajj, the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) announced that all the pilgrims were to meet with their caravans at a strategic place called "GHADEER KHUM" which was on the outskirts of Mecca.
The purpose of this gathering was that he had an important message to deliver to the Muslim Ummah. Some pilgrims went ahead immediately after completion of hajj to reach the place, while others joined them later It was midday by the time all the people finally gathered at Ghadeer. The sun was overhead and the heat intense. Many wondered at the reason for the Prophet (s.a.w.w.)'s command and everyone was curious about what he had to say.
After the entire congregation - of thousands - completed the noon prayers led by the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) himself, the main event began. A mimbar (Pulpit) was made for the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) so that everyone could see and hear him when he spoke.
After praising, glorifying and thanking Almighty Allah (S.W.T.), he began his sermon:
"O people! Death is inevitable. It is a reality, which every soul shall taste and experience. I seek His mercy now that I am coming to the last stages of my life. I also ask Him to protect you and you to accept death as a natural process.
Indeed! You are all aware of your Islamic duties. I have been able to spread the message of Islam to you all and have guided you towards the right path.
"I have been inspired by the Almighty that my time of death is near. Soon I shall no longer be amongst you. I leave behind for you TWO WEIGHTY THINGS. They will never be separated from each other.
I ask you to be steadfast and uphold these two things so that you may never go astray. They are the Holy Qur'an and my Ahlul-bayt and both are great, valuable treasures. Again I say, they will never be separated from each other…
"The Holy Qur'an is the final heavenly book from Allah (S.W.T.) for the guidance of mankind. The other weighty thing - the Ahlul-bayt - is my pure family. Almighty Allah (S.W.T.) has advised me that these two things will never be separated from each other until till they will meet at the KAUTHAR on the Day of Judgement.
"I wish to see you maintain and keep these two valuable things in your lives." Then he took the hand of Imam Ali (a.s.) and confirmed:
"O people! Until today you pledged your allegiance to me and accepted me as your final messenger. Therefore, was I not a God-sent guide to you? Was I not your leader and Allah (S.W.T.)'s representative unto you? " The entire congregation replied: " Yes, O Prophet of Allah! You are our guide and Allah (S.W.T.)'s proof!"
At that point, the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w.) raised Imam Ali (a.s.)'s hand and proclaimed:
" Whoever's leader I am, this Ali is his leader, whoever's authority I am, this Ali is now his authority… "
Then he recited the following dua:
"O Allah! Protect, help and befriend those who protect, help and befriend Ali, and be the enemy to those who become the enemies of Ali…"
Through this sermon it becomes apparent that the appointment of Imam Ali (a.s.) as the divine leader was an event of extreme importance. The Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w.) confirmed the need of an Imam after his own departure, as a sign from Allah (S.W.T.). It was necessary to have a divinely chosen leader who would be able to lead an Islamic Government and fulfil the needs of Muslims through the perfect teachings of the Holy Qur'an The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) then continued with his sermon:
"For all your difficulties and problems, seek guidance from the Holy Qur'an. By pondering on its verses, understanding its commands and implementing its perfect teachings, you will succeed. As for the other valuable treasure that I leave behind, the Ahlul-bayt, my progeny - the pure infallible family, they are those who become the manifestation of the Quranic teachings. Follow them as your guides.
Be aware of your individual duties and responsibilities. Seek guidance from the Ahlul-bayt for they are the Beacons of the Light of Guidance on the perfect path towards Allah.
"The Holy Qur'an and the Ahlul-bayt can never be separated. So this means that in order to seek happiness in this world and the hereafter, one has to believe and follow both of them as they complete the perfection of Islam."
Such were the valuable words of the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) at Ghadeer-e-Khum! This tradition of the two weighty things is known as HADITH-E-THAQALAYN and accepted as an authentic hadith by all Muslims, including the Sunnis.
The sermon of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) at Ghadeer shows us the importance of following Imam Ali (a.s.). On several occasions before this one, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) had stressed this issue so that the Ummah would be aware of the concept of Wilaayah (Succession) of Imam Ali (a.s.).
Every Muslim must strive to act upon the Prophet (s.a.w.w.)'s advice on the importance of reading, understanding and practising the teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the seeking of guidance from the infallible Aimmah (a.s.) who were the perfect role models after the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.)'s demise.
A Holy Saying:
"I leave among you two weighty things: the Book of Allah (S.W.T.) and my Ahlul-bayt, they shall never be separated from each other till they meet at the spring of Kauthar" The Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w.)
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT …
The final messenger, our Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w.) soon after completing his last Hajj, invited a large gathering of Hujjaj (pilgrims) to gather at a remote place - Ghadeer-e-Khum. This was in order to make an official announcement of Imam Ali (a.s.)'s wilaayah.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) left behind two weighty things in the hands of the Muslims:
a. The Holy Quran.
b. The Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) - his pure progeny.
Think and Answer
In which place did the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) gather soon after the farewell pilgrimage? What was his official message to the large crowd at this stop?
Why do you think the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) would need to leave behind a spiritual guide?
What was his prayer after completing his declaration?
What do you understand from the Hadith of Thaqalayn.
"The Holy Qur'an and the Ahlulbayt shall never be separated from one another." Analyse this tradition. Do Muslims practice this hadith today?
Lesson 17 : Why Ali Ibn Abi Talib As Imam?
After the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.)'s demise, no other man could take up the divine leadership except one who was chosen by him under the command of Allah (S.W.T.). As we have seen, this man was no other than Imam Ali (a.s.).
It befits us, as Muslims, to study the life of the great personality - Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). How much do we know about this man's contribution to humanity and Islam? Not much has been highlighted about his moral conduct, honesty, piety, justice, bravery and humility towards the Allah (S.W.T.) yet he was indeed the shadow of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and the living example of the Holy Qur'an!
Imam Ali (a.s.) was the closest and most beloved person to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.). History shows that from his childhood he took great pains to look after the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and would take food to him while he worshipped at the Cave of Hira. These were moments when Imam (a.s.) saw how passionately and deeply the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) was immersed in worship of the Merciful Lord.
When the blessed angel Jibraeel descended to him the glad tidings of the heavenly message, the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) knew it was his responsibility to deliver Islam to the world.
At that time, Imam Ali (a.s.) was a young boy but mature beyond his years. He was more a man, fully committed to the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and loyal to his cause. He was also the only one in those early days who accompanied and prayed behind the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.).
During the third year of his Be'that (Prophethood), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) generously invited people to Islam and the way to Allah (S.W.T.). Ali (a.s.) was only thirteen years old at the time but he publicly confirmed his submission to Islam.
His faith was unparalleled except in regards to that of the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) himself and this verifies why Imam Ali (a.s.) was chosen to be his Wazir. He helped and supported the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) in the spread of Islam even in the most troubled times and remained steadfast while others rejected the true message.
The pagan Arabs and Kuffar of Mecca never left the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) in peace after his first call towards Islam. They insulted and ridiculed him in public and sang perverted songs whilst he preached the words of Allah (S.W.T.).
When their words did not stop him, they resorted to violence. Physical assaults of all kinds were carried out against the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.)! For a long time, the beastly behaviour of the pagans continued in intensity and with the passing years their resentment grew until finally they decided to kill him.
The very night they had planned to carry out their evil intentions, a heavenly message came down on the pure soul of Muhammad (s.a.w.w.) to migrate from Mecca and seek refuge in Yathrib (today known as Madinah).
After receiving this divine revelation, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) requested Imam Ali (a.s.) to sleep on his bed while he journeyed towards Yathrib. This is one of the most famous events in history and is known as the night of Hijrat (Migration). The faithful Imam (a.s.) slept in the Prophet (s.a.w.w.)'s bed without hesitation although he knew his life would be in danger.
This selfless act on his part helped to trick the enemy into thinking that the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) was still in the house when in actual fact he had left the town and gave Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.w.) a chance to cover ground without the fear of being followed.
The character of our first Holy Imam (a.s.) was magnificent and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) described him on various occasions as a Godly-man and one who feared and worshipped none except the Almighty Allah (S.W.T.). He also praised him as an Aabid (Worshipper) and a Mujaahid (one who stood firm to defend Islam).
Imam (a.s.)'s kindness and generosity towards the poor and orphans overwhelmed them while his justice is famed to this day in both the Muslim and non-Muslim societies.
" If all of the Arab world rise and fight against me, I will not be defeated nor will I surrender or compromise. I shall fight for the sake of Allah (S.W.T.) even if thousands of swords embrace me. I will not leave the perfect path of Islam!" He further went on to say, "I would rather be swept away by the swords and At one time the Holy Imam (a.s.) warned his enemies:
arrows then die sick in bed."
One instance of his bravery can be seen in the battlefield of Ohad. When the enemy attacked the Muslims from behind, all the warriors ran from battleground out of fear. At that time, our first Imam (a.s.) stood alone, firmly fighting to safeguard Islam.
Away from the fighting field, Imam Ali (a.s.) was exemplary in his worship and love for Allah (S.W.T.). He spent long hours of the nights in prostration and worship. He first started praying publicly, following the Prophet (s.a.w.w.), at the age of only ten years.
His death was also in the state of worship i.e. while in sajdah (prostration). It was in this state that he embraced the glory of shahadat (martyrdom).
After the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w.), Imam Ali (a.s.) was the most knowledgeable man. As a man with a strong vision, whose goal was to preserve the teachings of Islam left by the Prophet (s.a.w.w.), he gave many sermons and traditions to the people in order to keep the Message of Islam alive in their hearts and souls.More than a thousand sayings, sermons and letters by the Commander of the Faithful were, in the later times, collected and compiled.
They form the contents of the famous book known to be second only to the Holy Qur'an - Nahjul Balaagha (The Peak of Eloquence).
One of the most common hadith concerning Imam Ali (a.s.), which is accepted and confirmed by both the Sunnis and Shiites, is that of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) where he said: "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate."
No justice can be done to the virtues of this Holy Imam (a.s.). Even if we were to study him in depth, it would be quite a task to reveal the greatness of this man.
Suffice to say that he was a humble servant of Allah (S.W.T.) and that the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) had repeatedly said to the people that he, Ali, was the Wali (Beloved) of Allah (S.W.T.).
Imam (a.s.) spent his life doing various things for the society such as building wells and dams. He worked very hard to get a living and at the end of the day he would give away all that he had earned to the needy and destitute. He led a very simple life and expressed a lot of concern for the orphans, widows and the poor people.
Our Holy Imam (a.s.) had no interest in gaining materialistic things like wealth, status and power. A broad smile played on his lips at all times and he never got angry except when a person tried to attack Islam.
His excellent akhlaq and conduct with the people attracted all towards him. He even showed compassion to those who had committed crimes, and pardoned many just to gain the acceptance and pleasure of the All-Merciful.
He was the Furqan of Islam, which means that he acted as the standard of Allah (S.W.T.)'s Deen. He was the living, talking, walking Qur'an.
A man of absolute conviction with a unique personality, Imam Ali (a.s.) is an example for all times and generations and a perfect role model. As Muslims, we should be proud of having such a great man as our Leader!
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT…
Imam Ali (a.s.) was the perfect example after the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w.).
He was the first man to submit and show full commitment to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and Islam. He helped and protected the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) at all times in delivering the true message of Islam.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) left behind Imam Ali (a.s.) as the perfect spiritual leader and guide after him.
Imam (a.s.)'s immaculate personality attracted all the people. He was a man who was brave, just, knowledgeable, kind and a lover of Allah (S.W.T.). Ultimately, he was martyred in the state of sajdah in salaat.
The Messenger of Allah (S.W.T.) said several times: "Ali is the Wali of Allah (S.W.T.)." He also said: "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate"
Think and Answer
Mention some of the characteristics of Imam Ali (a.s.). What makes you love him?
In what manner did Imam Ali (a.s.) fight during the battles?
Attempt to describe Imam (a.s.)'s Ebadah.
Mention the name of the book with the valuable sermons, sayings and letters of Imam and its compiler. Read a part of the book if you haven't before, then describe what you feel while reading it.
How did the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w.) describe the excellent character of Imam Ali (a.s.)?
What manners did our Imam (a.s.) show towards the people? Can such exemplary leaders be found in the Muslim Ummah today?
Introduction to Chapter Seven
In The Name Of Allah (S.W.T.), the Beneficent, the Merciful
AHKAM (LAWS) AND EBADAH (WORSHIP)
Ahkam comes from the Arabic word 'Hukm' meaning 'Law' while 'Ebadah' means 'Worship'. From the lessons we studied in the previous chapters, we now know that all our actions must be for the sake and pleasure of Allah (S.W.T.). It is therefore the duty of all those who are Mukkalaf (have reached the stage of Buloogh) to familiarize themselves with the Islamic laws and rituals in order to be able to perform their duties accurately.
Ahkam and Ebadah are strong branches of religion. The fundamental Islamic beliefs or the Roots of Religion (Usool-e-Deen) are belief in:
- Tawheed (Monotheism)
- Adalat (Divine Justice of God)
- Nubbuwah (Prophethood)
- Imamah (the 12 infallible Imams) and
- Ma'ad (the Return on the Day of Judgment)
So far, we have discussed issues relating to AQAID i.e. the Roots of Religion. Let us now begin to study important issues related to the Branches of Religion.
Before we talk about the actual Ahkam that make up these branches, we will briefly study the importance of Taklif and Taqleed. These enable a Mukkalaf to learn and appreciate the laws of Islam.
After that we will look at the basic rules regarding Wudhoo, Tayyamum, Ghusle- Jum'ah and Congregational prayers.